The Lydian dominant scale is another advanced concept used by contemporary blues musicians. This scale is a combination of the Lydian mode, which is a major scale with a raised fourth, and the dominant scale, which contains a flatted seventh. This scalar hybrid is shown to you in FIGURE 5-18.
Like the other scales in this chapter, the Lydian dominant can be used over I, IV, and V chords in a blues progression. FIGURE 5-18 shows each scale in ascending order, indicating the raised fourths and flatted sevenths.
FIGURE 5-18: Lydian Dominant Scale
As you know, root/perfect fourth intervals don't complement dominant sevenths chords very well. The Lydian dominant takes care of this issue quite easily by using a raised fourth. The result is a tri-tone or, more specifically, an augmented fourth. In the context of music, this interval is usually called a sharp eleven, and it is the Lydian dominant's most prominent feature. When used appropriately, this interval adds an interesting melodic twist to blues riffs.
Often, Lydian dominant licks center around, and resolve to, the fifth scale degree. On a C7 chord, this resolution point is G. Lydian dominant riffs tend to embellish this scale degree quite effectively. FIGURE 5-19 shows a common melodic twist that uses the Lydian Dominant scale. In this figure, a descending melody drops down to a sharp eleven. The melody then jumps up to a thirteenth before resolving on the consonant fifth.
FIGURE 5-19: Lydian Dominant Scales over I, IV, and V Chords
Another common Lydian dominant phrase uses grace notes (see Chapter 10) to slide into the sharp eleven of a V chord. From there, the line climbs back up until it lands on the fifth of the I chord. This is notated in FIGURE 5-20.
FIGURE 5-20: Lydian Dominant Melodic Twist
FIGURES 5-20 and
FIGURE 5-21: Another Common Lydian Dominant Melodic Turn